Mission Report

Porsche - FIA WEC 2017 - Le Mans - Race

Porsche at Le Mans 2017

At 18:30 on Saturday evening the Le Mans 24-Hours looked over for the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). Their car had no front axle drive anymore, was repaired for 1.05 hours and rejoined the race 19 laps behind. But the 85th running of the endurance classic in Le Mans produced such dramatic changes that the impossible ultimately came true: After an enormous effort, the trio sliced through the field from 54th position to overall victory. For Le Mans record holder Porsche, it is the 19th overall win in the world’s toughest race and the third in a row.

Timing

Pos. Team No Driver Car Class Laps Gap Pits Best lap Last lap Status Pos. Team Laps Gap Pits Best lap Last lap Status
Pos. No
Team Driver Car Class Laps Gap Pits Best lap Last lap Status

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The race track

Porsche at Le Mans 2017

The Circuit de la Sarthe is one of the world's oldest and most historic race tracks. With 38 curves and at 13.629 kilometres per lap, it is the longest track in the FIA WEC race calendar. The circuit mainly consists of public country roads that seamlessly merge into the race track. As the road is driven all year, it gains a special feature to consider: the tarmac is deeply rutted. And in Le Mans we drive more than 5000 kilometres during one race. Or a more striking comparison: Formula 1 needs a whole season to cover the Le Mans distance. Bearing up here means bearing up against any track of the world.

Porsche - 01. Dunlop Chicane

01. Dunlop Chicane

Porsche - 01. Dunlop Chicane

01. Dunlop Chicane

As you approach the distinctive wall of half tyres with considerable momentum, you prepare for the first chicane of the long Le Mans lap. Full braking, left and right over the kerbing, followed by a steep downhill to the Esses.

Porsche - 02. Tertre Rouge

02. Tertre Rouge

Porsche - 02. Tertre Rouge

02. Tertre Rouge

This corner isn't as easy as it looks. It's an aggressive track section that provides a lot of grip. But it also has bumps. The kerbing on the outside of the bend isn't flat, but instead hangs outwards. It is very easy to lose control of the vehicle if you drive over this section too quickly. You then have to pick up speed for the long straight.

Porsche - 03. Les Hunaudières

03. Les Hunaudières

Porsche - 03. Les Hunaudières

03. Les Hunaudières

The Hunaudières straight is almost 5 kilometres long with two chicanes, on which our prototypes reach up to 340km/h. Drivers say that it feels like it is never-ending, especially at night. At this speed, extreme concentration is required. In the early years, there was no chicane to slow down drivers from the top speed, which at the time was 400 km/h (248 mph).

Porsche - 04. Mulsanne

04. Mulsanne

Porsche - 04. Mulsanne

04. Mulsanne

At the end of the straight, initial braking is a real test of courage. The brakes glow, creating quite a spectacle at night. Shortly before the corner, a small bend and a bump provide a bit of excitement at the precise location where the driver has to brake.

Porsche - 05. Indianapolis

05. Indianapolis

Porsche - 05. Indianapolis

05. Indianapolis

Indianapolis is a popular curve with drivers at Le Mans. Drivers enter the corner at high speed. Once in the corner, they slow down and feel the high centrifugal forces in the vehicle. The left-hand corner that follows mustn't be taken too quickly, as the vehicle can easily skid.

06. Porsche Curves

06. Porsche Curves

06. Porsche Curves

06. Porsche Curves

The drivers approach at top speed and brake slightly, as the bumps can quickly destabilise the vehicle. Drivers can open up a lead in these curves if they are brave enough to take a bit of a risk. In the Porsche Curves, drivers very quickly notice whether their vehicle is delivering maximum aerodynamic performance – or not as the case may be. Porsche is the only manufacturer with its own turn at Le Mans. It was built to bypass the fast and dangerous Maison Blanche section in 1972.

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